Edwards and Rispone file new campaign finance reports; respond to LMA questionnaire

Updated: Nov. 7, 2019 at 7:58 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - With the campaign for governor in the homestretch, finance reports filed by the candidates offer a snapshot of the money they have on hand for the waning days of the campaign.

Incumbent Governor John Bel Edwards, a Democrat, raised over $5.2 million during the period covering September 23 through October 27. The primary election which decided the runoff contenders was held on October 12.

The campaign finance report filed November 6 by the Edwards campaign shows that Edwards spent $6.1 million and had about $1.5 million on hand at the close of the reporting period. The campaign also had no loans.

FOX 8 political analyst Mike Sherman said money will not be an issue during the final days of the runoff campaign.

"Governor Edwards is raising significant sums as well, so both candidates even though they might not be spending proportionately have enough money to properly fund a campaign,” said Sherman.

According to Republican Eddie Rispone’s campaign finance filing, he took in $2.9 million over the same period, expended $3.8 million and had $2.3 million on hand.

The reports also show that Rispone loaned his campaign $1 million after the primary. So far, he has given his campaign $12.5 million over the course of the campaign, according to finance reports.

"While there are notable amounts that he's raising from third parties he has largely funded his campaign himself,” Sherman said of Rispone.

Sherman said the race between the only Democratic governor in the Deep South and a Republican challenger who has the backing of President Donald Trump is attracting money from outside the state and from political action committees.

"In modern day American politics, the campaign finance reports only tell a small bit of the story. The national governors’ associations and third party PACS are spending massive amounts, far outspending actually even the candidates' own accounts,” said Sherman.

If elected, Rispone wants a constitutional convention to overhaul the state’s constitution but says he would not support doing away with the popular homestead exemption.

"That's the farthest from the truth possible. We're not going to do away with the Second Amendment, we're not going to do away with the protection of the unborn. That's not going to happen,” Rispone said earlier this week during a stop in Kenner.

Edwards has been vocal about his opposition to a constitutional convention, stating that opening up the entire document for review would put at risk constitutional protections that citizens strongly favor.

He also says Rispone has robbed voters of specifics on what areas of the constitution he wants to change.

"I don't know why you would ever call a constitutional convention that could potentially jeopardize all of those things when you can't articulate what it is you're trying to accomplish,” said Edwards during a stop in New Orleans this week.

In its November publication, the Louisiana Municipal Association, a non-profit with Republicans and Democrats on its executive board, shows responses from the candidates to nine questions posed by the LMA’s legislative committee on topics which included the candidates’ priorities, the state budget, and infrastructure.

According to the documents in the publication, Edwards provided lengthy answers to the questions, while Rispone sent a one page, three-paragraph general response.

In responding to a media inquiry about the type of responses submitted by the candidates, the LMA said it does not dictate how candidates respond to the questions.

Sherman believes Rispone’s brevity is part of his strategy.

"Let me say this, Rispone is running the generic Republican campaign. If you want to vote Republican, vote for him, he's not giving us specifics to analyze any policies,” said Sherman. "This is a safe strategy. He wants to run the generic Republican campaign because we don't know what that constitutional convention would entail.”

We reached out by phone, email and text message to the Rispone campaign for comment on the one-page letter sent to the LMA, but no one responded.

Early voting ends on Saturday (Nov. 9) and both candidates say they are working to get as many of their supporters to cast ballots ahead of the November 16 election.

Sherman says voter enthusiasm has increased.

"Interest is high, both sides doing a good job getting their voters out,” said Sherman.

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